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The Racket Continues

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) commends the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for its investigation into the illegal rosewood trade from Nigeria. We note the convergence of the investigation’s results with EIA’s own findings, presented a year ago in the “The Rosewood Racket” report, including the prevalence of corruption schemes implicating officials responsible for issuing CITES permits. Despite the listing of Pterocarpus erinaceus (called “kosso” in Nigeria) on Appendix II of the Convention since 2 January 2017 and the recommendations from the Standing Committee at its 69th meeting (SC69), the rosewood racket persists in Nigeria. EIA’s new research indicates that well-organized traffickers are taking from the wild and exporting in violation of the Convention as many specimens of P. erinaceus as materially possible, without any consideration for the impacts of the uncontrolled and massive harvest on the standing populations. Nigeria exported over one million cubic meters Round Wood Equivalent (RWE) of the African rosewood – approximately four million trees – from 2 January 2017 until 31 March 2018. This likely represents the largest violation of the Convention in history. EIA’s investigation shows that the first signs of commercial extinction of P. erinaceus have emerged, while pressure on the last stands of wild populations located in areas under protection is accelerating. The Nigerian kosso case illustrates more fundamental concerns regarding the implementation – or lack thereof – of CITES species listings in a timely andeffective manner. The fact that Nigeria has been able to export excessive amounts of illegal kosso since its listing, without a required science-based non-detriment finding (NDF) nor the required verification of legal acquisition (VLA) is most worrying.

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Recent Blog Posts

Seizing the Moment: How Ghana Can End the Destruction of the Illegal Rosewood Trade Now
07/21/2020
As exports and imports worldwide are estimated to be at their lowest levels in four years due to the impact of COVID-19, Ghana, a key epicenter of the rosewood trade in West Africa, is no exception to this trend.
New global protection measures for threatened rosewood trees start this week
11/25/2019
A number of threatened tree species have been given a new lease on life. At its 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP18) in August 2019, CITES granted protection to several species – adding them to Appendix II of the binding global wildlife treaty. Ninety days after the decisions were taken in Geneva, the listings for mukula and mulanje cedar are now coming into effect.

Recent Reports

Cashing-In On Chaos
06/03/2020
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)’s three-year investigation into the Senegal-Gambia-China rosewood traffic uncovered unprecedented evidence on a series of major forest crimes.
Mukula Cartel
12/05/2019
In Zambia the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) found that a handful of very high profile figures have apparently orchestrated and facilitated massive trafficking operations for years that are driving mukula rosewood trees to the edge of commercial extinction, devastating vulnerable forests and threatening communities’ livelihoods.

Recent Press Releases

Exposed: The Gambia’s Blood Wood Trafficking
06/03/2020
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)’s new report, Cashing-In On Chaos, conclusively establishes links between timber trafficking controlled by Senegalese armed rebels; the decade-long smuggling of an estimated 1.6 million trees from Senegal to The Gambia; and the illegal re-export of the disappearing rosewood trees to China, in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Some of EIA’s findings are featured in the BBC’s documentary The Trees That Bleed: How rosewood is smuggled from Senegal into Gambia, released in March 2020.
EIA Welcomes China's New Law to Ban Illegal Timber
01/20/2020
EIA Welcomes China's New Law to Ban Illegal Timber

Recent Videos

Mukula Cartel
12/05/2019
In Zambia the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) found that a handful of very high profile figures have apparently orchestrated and facilitated massive trafficking operations for years that are driving mukula rosewood trees to the edge of commercial extinction, devastating vulnerable forests and threatening communities’ livelihoods
Raw Intelligence: GOCA
10/18/2019
Mr. Lu is the Secretary of the Association of Overseas Chinese in Gabon and a leading figure in the Forest Union of the Asian Industry in Gabon (UFIAG). He doesn’t miss an opportunity to publicly defend Chinese logging companies in Gabon, and to assert that these entrepreneurs operate with the best of intentions.